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  #11  
Old 09-03-2018, 08:32 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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I took the mother here to be the mother-country, the land of his birth. The nourishment being cultural etc. I must go back and look again...
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  #12  
Old 09-03-2018, 10:32 AM
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Martin Rocek Martin Rocek is offline
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Hi Andrew,

Of course Ann's reading is right--the title alerts the reader to that right away. The word that I wonder about is "moaning" in the penultimate line. I'm not sure why it's there, and I suspect it is that which gives some readers unease with "mother-lover".

Thanks for the read!
Martin
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Old 09-04-2018, 12:01 PM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Based on people’s comments, I’ve decided to try this out in the second person, as well as to follow Jim’s advice and change “lover-mother” to “my mother, my love.”

Thanks Jim, John, Annie, and Martin. Martin, I don’t think “moaning” near the end could be anything besides a moan of pain, coming a couple lines after “cri de coeur.”

Jim, when you ask if the whole world is asleep, what I had in mind is the collective amnesia going on right now with the rise of nationalist nonsense. I do think that’s a kind of sleep that is fairly world-wise, though maybe I need to be more specific.

I still don’t know what to do, if anything, about “ilk” being so far from “milk.”

I also have no ideas yet for the title. It needs to clarify that N is speaking to America, and that he's an expat.

More later, as the spirit moves.

Andrew
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  #14  
Old 09-04-2018, 07:29 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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It's just wonderful, Andrew. This is my fave line: is all goodbye and half hello. - brillz. I like the revisions, but I think revising "ilk" is a good idea, as Susan suggested. I don't mind that it chimes far from the "milk" line. It just sounds awkward. Maybe something like My mother, my love, my bolt of silk, / I hear you moaning... Or maybe an off-rhyme. I also think you could jazz this up a little: natural good looks.
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  #15  
Old 09-04-2018, 10:54 PM
Martin Elster Martin Elster is online now
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Excellent, Andrew. I agree with those who say “ilk” is a bit quirky in context. The distance between the rhyme words is not what I find off-key, but the word itself. Also, it seems to be somewhat of a tautology, since a country that is “my mother, my love” would of course be of the N’s ilk (type, family, etc.).
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Old 09-05-2018, 07:12 AM
Andrew Frisardi Andrew Frisardi is offline
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Thanks for weighing in on this, Mary and Martin. I’ve tried out a new rhyme pair instead of “ilk/milk”: does it work better now?

Also, I’m thinking “smear” in line 2 might be better as “blot,” but I wonder if that is too predictable? (I am using “smear” in the political sense as well of course.)

Mary, I think I’m keeping “natural good looks” because it’s a bit of a conversational phrasing and because I am thinking literally of the nature in America not quite looking as good as it once did.

Does everyone think the title needs to change? I think "Song of an American Expat" has to stay, to orient people. But "Breakup" could be (among alternatives I've thought of) "Lovesick" or "Estranged."

Last edited by Andrew Frisardi; 09-05-2018 at 07:18 AM.
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  #17  
Old 09-05-2018, 08:34 AM
Jim Moonan Jim Moonan is online now
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Giving titles is sometimes the most frustrating part of the poem for me. Potentially it can complete a poem in a way the body of it cannot. But I see how most of the time it’s best to be careful not to overreach with it.
I like the metaphor of a breakup but don’t necessarily think it needs to be spelled out/included in title. But I also feel the same about the inclusion of “expat” in the title. It would be nice, I think, to find something that reflects the melancholy of the poem. I don’t have any suggestions I like, but did think of “Red, White and Blue” for its play on the word “blue”.
X
X
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  #18  
Old 09-05-2018, 09:30 AM
Susan McLean Susan McLean is online now
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Andrew, I think "womb/loom" is a much better rhyme pair, which doesn't call attention to itself in a bad way. I like your thought about "Estranged" as part of the title. One can't exactly break up with a mother, but one can feel alienated from her, and the word would tie in with all the strangenesses of being an expat.

Susan
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  #19  
Old 09-05-2018, 09:56 AM
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Ann Drysdale Ann Drysdale is online now
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Titles are always a problem.

Thinking of a different poem - David's "Glass" - led me to the Welsh word "Hiraeth" and the fact that the Welsh consider it untranslatable without a great many words to cover all its aspects. Words and phrases such as you have here, which the Welsh language can condense into that one word.

I'm not suggesting that you even consider using that word but perhaps you can use its concept.

I understand that there are many words in other languages that carry the same distillation of your feelings here. I read: "Hiraeth bears considerable similarities with the Portuguese concept of saudade (a key theme in Fado music), Galician morriña, Romanian dor, Russian toska, German Sehnsucht and Ethiopian tizita..."

Is there a word in Italian for this sort of pain?
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Old 09-06-2018, 07:38 PM
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Mary Meriam Mary Meriam is offline
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Andrew, I think the change to second-person was right on. But now I'm seeing some stale phrases: "have your hooks" and "natural good looks" especially irk me. I really don't like "benign womb" and "troubles loom." Other parts are looking like filler. Here are the parts I think are terrific:

Sparks of our love have burned to smoke
that smears the sky of our goodbyes
across the sea.

You gave me a life before I woke
to sleepwalk where my fortune lies,
oblivious there’d been a rift.

Though distant, your undertow
still raises riptides in my blood.

Across our continental drift,
your cri de coeur
is all goodbye and half hello.

My mother, my love,
you are moaning through the deep
while all the world is sound asleep.
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